Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

ANZSANA Conference 2020

The Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America held its 27th annual meeting 5-7 February 2020 on the University Centre of the Coast, a satellite campus of the University of Guadalajara that is located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The conference kicked off with a welcome reception sponsored by the Clark Center. We were delighted to be joined by several distinguished guests, including Estelle Parker, Australian Chargé d’Affaires to Mexico, Jorge Téllez, Rector of the University Centre of the Coast, and Marina de los Santos, Director of the Puerto Vallarta Institute of Culture who represented Arturo Dávalos, the Mayor of Puerto Vallarta.

The conference featured two keynote lectures. Professor Philip Goad, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University, who explored questions of migration, modernism, and education in art, design, and architecture, taking as his focus the experiences of three figures from the Bauhaus diaspora in Australia. His talk drew from his recent book Bauhaus Diaspora and Beyond: Transforming Education through Art, Design and Architecture (Miegunyah Press and Power Publishing, 2019). And, Benjamin T. Jones, a Lecturer at Central Queensland University, reflected on the themes of democracy and liberty within the context of Australian politics. He is the author and editor of several books, most recently This Time: Australia's Republican Past and Future (Redback, 2018).

In addition, participants were treated to two special lunch events. Dr. Gerardo Traslosheros delivered an address, offering his assessment of various risks to the global economy and their likely implications for Australia, New Zealand, and North America. His remarks were informed by a breadth and depth of experience acquired in his roles as an economist, former Ambassador of Mexico to New Zealand, and negotiator for Mexico during the drafting of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Japan-Mexico Free Trade Agreement, and the Israel-Mexico Trade Agreement, as well as the Kyoto and Cartagena Protocols. Clark Center Director Rhonda Evans launched a recent book by ANZSANA member Dr. Jatinder Mann. Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand which examines the demise of Britishness as a defining feature of these three countries and assesses the impact of this historic shift upon each country’s conceptualization of citizenship.

Scholars traveled from Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, the US, and across Mexico to participate in the conference. Four graduate students presented their work. Anna Kent, a PhD student in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University, was awarded the John Higley Prize for her excellent paper, entitled “Scholarships as signposts: Australian government scholarship to the Pacific 2000-2010.” In addition, nine undergraduate students from the University of Auckland attended as part of a delegation from the Latin America Center of Asia-Pacific Excellence at Victoria University of Wellington. We thank the Center for making their trip possible.

The conference celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Guadalajara’s Department of Pacific Studies. A large contingent of scholars from the Department presented their work at the conference.

The University Centre of the Coast provided a marvelous natural setting for the conference. Its campus is home to a reptilarium that serves as a sanctuary for the region’s crocodiles. Conference participants were treated to a very informative tour of the facility. To the delight of visitors, the campus also features a large pond that is home to numerous, colorful iguanas that live freely on the campus—a far cry from the Forty Acres’ turtle pond! The conference’s welcome reception and lunches were held in the Museum of the Night of the Iguana. The Night of the Iguana, a 1964 film directed by John Huston and featuring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, was shot in Puerto Vallarta. Finally, a memorable conference dinner was held on the beach at La Palapa, an iconic Puerto Vallarta restaurant.

At the ANZSANA business meeting, Miguel Híjar-Chiapa and Rhonda Evans were reelected to serve as ANZSANA President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively. Alan Tidwell, Director of the Center for Australian, New Zealand, and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University, was elected to the position of Vice-President. ANZSANA thanks Emily Cornish, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, for her service as Vice-President. Plans are underway to organize ANZSANA’s 2021 meeting. Stay tuned for details!

A successful conference entails a tremendous amount of work. Miguel Híjar-Chiapa is to be commended for serving as our indefatigable on-the-ground conference organizer.  ANZSANA also extends its sincere thanks to Edna Ramírez, Associate Professor of Law at the University Centre of the Coast, for the invaluable help she provided in hosting the conference.

More information about ANZSANA and the 2020 conference program are available here.


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The University Centre of the Coast, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

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Dr. Philip Goad presenting his keynote lecture.

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Dr. Rhonda Evans and Dr. Jatinder Mann at the ANZSANA launch of Redefining Citizenship in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Miguel Híjar-Chiapa and Dr. Rhonda Evans presenting Anna Kent with the John Higley Prize.
Photo Credit: Dr. Benjamin T. Jones

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